Michael Queen’s Poems

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A stormy day before the snow

Rain and the gales of autumn
scour birch leaves from branches
scatter them across the garden’s remains
the poppies and forget-me-nots ready for sleep.

willow tosses above the cobbled margin
of the tide line. salt spray and sand
etch panes trembling in weathered frames.
stove ash circulates suspended in damp
drafts born of the buffeting storm
and settles in my cooling coffee
as I drink it in.

a couple cords yet to split and stack against
snows soon to descend, but time now
just to sit and sip coffee, just to
listen to the planet roaring, listen
to the quiet heart grateful
for the full cellar and a well banked fire, for
enough to last the winter, enough
to want for nothing more.

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Loving between darkness and light

3 a.m. and waiting
for your shift to end
for you to come home and
slip from your uniform then
slide into bed
your smile in greeting
a soft click and vanishing
sliver of light behind you
rustling comforters
four arms filling
with one another

moist the night
luxurious and long
we move within it
between darkness and light
the way I move in
and out of you

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Some time before sunset

All morning I have walked the banks
Of the salt marsh welcoming the lamentations
In a quiet way, sotto voce greetings
To testaments of another autumn turning
From swan feathers to early October snow.
Days hence will find them farther south.
These aromatic waters will skin over
With a burgeoning patina of ice and
Silence will prepare the whole of us
For the advent of darkness that endures

Until March. Welcome too will be that silence
And its dark partner backlighting aurora borealis.
Winter is a season to reflect upon the generations
Of trumpeter swans these brush-lined banks have known,
Of the seasons comprising this generation that knows me.

Yesterday is but an imagination,
An imperfect memory, and tomorrow never comes.
There is only this frosty morning and these rarities
Replenishing their strength for further journeys. There is
My regard of all this before me and a fervent desire to endure the dark

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Lamentation
Swans, when they have hard luck in the fall time… they can just go right through the sky to heaven without dying. Swans are the only big animals that God made that can go to heaven without dying.”

– Charlie Yahey, Dunne-za Dreamer

one cob less this April
perhaps an accident northward
some stalking misfortune
a contrary wind

three and a half pair
nicker at new shoots, await
retreating ice

wholly beautiful
the odd pen frets at stubble
in the long rays of darkening red sunset

how brilliant her plumage!
how supple her long white neck
inclined to the horizon opposite

toward a more delicate shift of light

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Origami

it has taken an entire heart
to fashion this tiny craft
folded most carefully
at one time or another every facet
laid open for your survey
kneeling in preparation
for voyage to a place in you
that may not still exist
off uncertain wind and in
a mutable ebbing and flow

I launch fragile and buoyant hope

bound for a harbor I was sure once to enter
guided by a sincerity you once uttered

toward one who might
yet receive

Michael Queen was born in Juneau, Alaska Territory from a father of Clan MacQueen lineage and a mother of Clans Campbell and Wallace. A retired Firefighter, he is studying for a Master of Fine Arts degree in Creative Writing-Poetry. His work has appeared in Karmic Runes, Silver Vain, and Ice-Floe.

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Freeze This Moment

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Freeze This Moment

We were sitting on your rooftop
Staring at the skies
The sun was dipping lower
I looked into your eyes
You saw what I was feeling
I know you felt it too
We wanted time to just stand still
Then forever there’d be me and you
Why can’t we freeze this moment?
Return to it in time
Stay together through the years
Proclaim I’m yours and you are mine
So let us freeze this moment
Store it safely away
Even if we leave this place
We’ll return to it someday

– Jenna Todd –

Poems

Love is like a butterfly in so many ways.
It brings a bit of sunshine even on gloomy days.
It makes our souls feel lighter just to know it’s there
Giving our spirits wings, as if floating in the air.
It carries us to places that we never knew before
And comes in many sizes, shapes and colors galore.

Once we’ve seen it, we wish to hold onto it so tight
But like a frail butterfly, we must allow it free flight,
For if we should try to cage it and hold it in a pen,
We’ll surely crush its wings, and it’ll never fly again.
To keep that love glowing in our hearts each day,
We must remember always to give some of it away.

Every little bit we give to someone else to share
Comes back tenfold, and we’ve so much to spare.
Put your love on gossamer wings, and give it flight;
It will return to you, and bring you delight.

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~You Touch My Heart~

You touch my heart each and every day
You bring a smile to my face with all you do and say
It feels so great just being with you

You’ve touched my heart, my thoughts, & dreams too
You’ve changed my life and everything is new
I see through your eyes a sky that’s so blue
I let you into my heart… I laugh, I cry
I’ll stand by you and never question why

The reading of your words quickens my heart
It stirs feeling’s, deep within
Through out the day my thought’s turn to you
I miss you too. You’ve made me so happy
I couldn’t ask for more
You’ve filled that empty space.

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THANKYOU

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How do you say thank you
To someone that always shares,
That opens up their heart
And let’s you know they care?

That’s always there for you,
Come rain or shine,
And glad to lift you up,
When they don’t have the time….

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That talks you through,
The hardest of things,
And wants more of you,
Just for the joy that it brings….

And when you’re down
They lift you up,
And when you have a good day,
They’re there to fill up your cup….

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How do you thank
Someone so sweet?
What do you say to
Someone that’s so neat?

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I want more for you,
More than I can even give,
But I will cherish our moments,
For as long as I live!

Thank you for the sweetness,
And your loving heart…
That you opened up to me
From the very start!

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I will never forget you,
As long as I live
And I want, so much,
To return to you
The love that you give!

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Thank you

Scottish Gaelic Conversational Phrases

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Na h-Abairtean (the Phrases)

“Dè an t-ainm a tha oirbh?” (Jeh un TAH-num uh HAW-ruv?) What’s your name?

“‘S mise…..(insert your name).” (SMIH-shuh…) “My name is…”

“Ciamar a tha sibh?” (KIM-mer uh HAH shiv?) “How are you?”

“Tha gu math, tapadh leibh.” (HAH guh MAH, TAH-puh LEH-eev) “I’m well, thank you.”

“Dè tha thu a dèanamh?” (Jeh HAH oo uh JEE-ah-nuv?) “What are you doing?”

“Chan eil mi a’ dèanamh càil.” (chahn-yel mee uh JEE-ah-nuv KAHL) “I’m not doing anything.”

“Tha mi airson Gàidhlig ionnsachadh.” (hah mee EHR-sawn GAH-lik YOON-sa-hugkh) “I want to learn Gaelic.”

“A bheil an t-acras ort?” (Uh VEHL uhn TAH-krus orsht?) “Are you hungry?”

“Ceart gu leòr. Tha an t-acras orm.” (Kyarsht guh LYAWR. Hahn TAH-krus AW-rum) “You bet. I’m hungry.”

“Bu toigh leam bracaist a ghabhail.” (Boo tuh LUH-oom BRAH-kawsht uh GAH-ull) “I would like to have breakfast.”

“Càit a bheil an taigh beag?” (KAHTCH uh vehl un tye bek?) “Where’s the bathroom?”

“An toir thu dhomh pòg?” (Un TUH-r oo ghawnh pawk?) “Will you give me a kiss?”

“Cha toir, ach bheir mi dhut sgailc!” (Chah TUH-r, ach vehr mee ghoot skahlk!) “No, but I’ll slap you!”

“Slàinte mhòr agad!” (SLAHN-tchuh VORR AH-kut!) “Great health to you!” (“Cheers!”)

“Nach i tha teth an-diugh?” (nahch ee hah TCHEH un-DJOO?) “Isn’t it hot today? (It’s hot today.)”

“Bha e brèagha an-de.” (Vah eh BREE-uh un-DJEH) “It was beautiful yesterday.”

“Cò an caora sin còmhla riut a chunnaic mi an-raoir?” (Kaw uhn KEU-ra shin KAW-la root uh CHOO-nik mee uhn-royer?) “Who was that sheep I saw you with last night?”

“Cha b’e sin caora, ‘se sin mo chèile a bha innte!” (Chah beh shin KEU-ra, sheh shin moe CHYEH-luh uh vah EEN-tchuh!) “That was no sheep, that was my spouse!”

“Tha gaol agam ort.” (Hah GEUL AH-kum orsht) “I love you.”

“Tha gaol agam ort-fhèin.” (Hah GEUL AH-kum orsht-HEH-een) “I love you too.”

“Chan eil fhios agam.” (CHAHN-yel iss AH-kum) “I don’t know.”

“Dè tha thu ag iarraidh?” (jeh HAH oo ug EE-uh-ree) “What do you want?”

“Tha mi ag iarraidh briosgaid!” (hah mi ug-EE-uh-ree BRISS-kahtch) “I want a cookie!”

“‘S toigh leam briosgaidean gu mòr!” (STUH LUH-oom BRISS-kaht-chun goo MAWR) “I like cookies — a lot!”

“A bheil Gàidhlig agaibh?” (uh vil GAH-lik AH-kiv) “Do you speak Gaelic?”

“Tha, beagan.” (hah, BECK-un) “Yes, a little.”

“Dè thuirt thu?” (jeh HOORSHT oo) “What did you say?”

“Can a-rithist sin?” (kahn uh-REE-isht shin) “Say that again?”

“Chan eil mi a’ tuigsinn.” (chan-yel mi uh-TOOK-shin) “I don’t understand.”

“Tha mi duilich.” (hah mee DOOH-lich) “I’m sorry.”

“Gabhaibh mo leisgeul.” (GAHV-iv moe LESH-kul) “Excuse me.”

“Ceart gu leòr.” (kyarsht guh LYAWR) “Right enough” — “Okay.”

“Tha sin glè mhath!” (hah shin gleh VAH) “That’s very good!”

“‘S math sin!” (SMAH-shin) “Great!” — “Terrific!”

“Ma ‘se ur toil e.” (mah sheh oor TUL-leh) “please.”

“Tapadh leat.” (TAH-puh LAHT — also — TAHplett) “Thank you.”

“Mòran taing.” (MAW-run TAH-eeng) “Many thanks.”

“‘Se do bheatha.” (sheh doe VEH-huh) “You’re welcome.”

“Mar sin leibh an dràsda.” (mahr shin LEH-eev un DRAHSS-tuh) “Ta ta for now.”

Oil Refinery Closes – Can Scotland Cope?

The Grangemouth oil refinery has been shut down ahead of a strike that could disrupt fuel supplies in Scotland and the North.

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Around 1,200 workers will stage a 48-hour walkout on Sunday and Monday as part of a dispute over pensions with the refinery’s owners, Ineos.

Grangemouth is Scotland’s only major refinery and supplies across Scotland, the north of England and Northern Ireland could be hit by the action.

BP said the strike may force the closure of its Forties pipeline which delivers 30% of the UK’s daily oil output.

Oil is piped ashore on an adjoining site but relies on steam from Grangemouth to function.

Motoring organisations are calling on drivers not to panic buy at the pumps. But drivers in Scotland have told Sky News Online that some garages have already run oun of fuel while others are limiting the amount people can buy.

Russell Grant from Peterculter, Aberdeenshire, said: “I passed both Asda (24 hr) and Sainsbury’s (24 hr) petrol filling stations in Aberdeen. Both were closed with signs advising no unleaded or diesel.”

‘Davie’ from Cumbernauld near Glasgow said: “Our local petrol station has put a maximum of £20 per customer and it’s cash only, no credit cards or cheques.”

Already, bus operators in Edinburgh have warned they will not be able to run any services from Sunday evening because of a lack of fuel.

Grangemouth processes 200,000 barrels of oil a day – equal to nine million litres of petrol and diesel.

It supplies Scotland, Northern England and Northern Ireland. Shutting the plant down – which is necessary for safety reasons – has to be done gradually and takes an entire week.

Starting it back up again takes just as long. As a result, the two-day strike will cause weeks of disruption to supplies.

The Government insists the country has enough petrol and diesel to last well into May and says there is no need for motorists to worry.

Prime Minister Gordon Brown has urged union leaders and the refinery’s owners to return to the negotiating table to avoid industrial action.

He said: “There is no need for this (Grangemouth) to flare up. The conciliatory service Acas has been working for weeks on this. There is no need for an industrial dispute.

“Acas is available to help, and the sooner talks take place the better”. He also said strikes in the public sector were “unacceptable” as it was “essential to keep inflation down”.

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Is It Any Wonder?

I always thought that I knew
I’d always have the right to
Be living in the kingdom of the good and true
And so on
But now I think I was wrong
And you were laughing along
And now I look a fool for thinking you were on, my side

Is it any wonder that I’m tired?
Is it any wonder that I feel uptight?
Is it any wonder I don’t know what’s right?

Sometimes
It’s hard to know where I stand
It’s hard to know where I am
Or maybe it’s a puzzle I don’t understand
Sometimes
I get the feeling that I’m
Stranded in the wrong time
Where love is just a lyric in children’s rhyme, a soundbite

Is it any wonder that I’m tired?
Is it any wonder that I feel uptight?
Is it any wonder I don’t know what’s right
Oh these days?
After all the misery you made
Is it any wonder that I feel afraid?
Is it any wonder that I feel betrayed?

Nothing left inside this old cathedral
Just the sad lonely spires
How do you make it right?

Oh but you try
Is it any wonder that I’m tired?
Is it any wonder that I feel uptight?
Is it any wonder I don’t know what’s right?
Oh these days
After all the misery you made
Is it any wonder that I feel afraid?
Is it any wonder that I feel betrayed?

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Seafood Scotland launches new trade website at ESE

SCOTLAND has moved up the global seafood supply chain with the launch of a new, foreign language website to assist foreign buyers – First Minister Alex Salmond said today.

The First Minister launched the Seafood Scotland (SFS) website at the European Seafood Exposition in Brussels, before touring the exposition to meet with Scottish exhibitors.

The website will simplify the sourcing of Scottish seafood by providing up-to-date information, translated into French, Italian, Spanish, German and Russian. It will also allow buyers to meet consumer demand by being clear that they are making an environmentally sound buying choice. All products promoted on the website have been responsibly caught, says SFS.

Reflecting on a successful campaign of promotion, the First Minister said: “Scotland is home to some of the freshest, highest quality foods in the world. This visit to Brussels has been a chance to give Europe and beyond a flavour of what’s on offer. And I’ve been delighted by the appetite there has been for excellent Scottish produce.

“It’s vital that we do all we can to promote Scottish food. Already this Government has launched a national food discussion to ensure we make the most of Scotland’s food. We are working towards a national food policy – our first ever cross-cutting policy on food. And earlier this year I ate my own advice, by eating only Scottish produce for one week.

“Top quality sustainable Scottish seafood is just one of the many assets Scotland can dish up. Seafood Scotland’s new responsible sourcing website will help us turn our assets into economic advantage. By translating information that highlights the standards Scotland’s fishing fleet adhere to, buyers can be confident that Scottish produce – in any language – is quality, sustainable produce.”

Environment Minister Michael Russell accompanied the First Minister, and said: “We want the freshest, finest future for Scottish food – supporting Scottish food is in our national interest.

“Scottish seafood is amongst the best in the world. I am delighted to see so many Scottish exhibitors here and recognition of this high quality through demand for our top-class produce at the European Seafood Exposition today.

“Food is about so much more than what we eat – it is about our environment, tourism, education and health – which is why we are developing our first ever cross-cutting food policy.”

Lena Wilson, Chief Operating Officer at Scottish Enterprise said: “A key part of Scottish Development International’s (SDI) role is to assist companies improve their international networks and collaborations by supporting their participation in trade events such as ESE. SDI has long recognised the value of this annual event to the Scottish seafood industry and I am sure this year’s participants will find it a valuable experience. ESE is an important showcase for Scottish companies who benefit from Scotland’s global reputation for high quality seafood. This year’s event is truly a team effort with all key organisations working together to ensure Scotland as the highest profile possible at this massive event.”

Philip Riddle, Chief Executive of VisitScotland said: “Scotland’s food and drink products are fast becoming major attractions in their own right when it comes to what we offer visitors as part of their overall holiday experience. More and more people want to know where their food has been sourced and are interested in sampling local dishes and ingredients. They want to meet producers and feel they are getting something unique to Scotland. To enable this, we are continuing to work closely with the industry to create a number of initiatives including food trails and experiences, restaurant promotions and a dedicated Eat Scotland website to further enhance Scotland’s food as part of our overall tourism promotions.”

Rob Clarke, head of HIE’s international development team said: “The number of Highlands and Islands companies which return, year on year, to exhibit at the European Seafood Expo is tangible proof of the benefits to be accrued. We are particularly delighted this year to see so many companies from this region attending for the first time. It’s vital for producers selling quality seafood, to showcase their products to absolutely the right target audience so it augurs well for the Highlands and Islands that we have such a good representation at this influential trade event.

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Glasgow poised for fastest jobs growth in Scotland

Glasgow is creating jobs at a faster rate than most other major UK cities, with the number of people working in the city rising by 60,000 in the seven years to 2006.

According to a report released by the city council this week, almost every sector within Glasgow has experienced significant growth rates since the late 1990s in the financial, retail, hospitality and public spheres.

The rise brings to 406,000 the number of jobs within Glasgow.

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Despite widespread predictions of an impending economic slump, the report also insists the city will remain buoyant, forecasting a further increase of 23,000 posts by 2017 and projecting the fastest growth in Scotland.

It projects a further 16,000 jobs for the international financial services district, making the sector the city’s largest with 29% of all Glasgow jobs.

The report comes as a further study claims the city’s population is set to grow significantly.

The population stands at 580,000, down from over 800,000 in the 1950s, but this is expected to grow by 1725 per year until 2016 and by 2026 will be between 608,000 and 652,000, depending on migration.

However, the employment report, compiled by SLIMS, an independent consultancy which provides labour-market information for all local authorities within west-central Scotland, does contain some less glowing analysis of the city’s economy.

Although it has a relatively high average wage and job creation is high, employment rates remain below Scottish and UK averages, with a high number of people on various forms of employment benefit.

In addition the city has an above average proportion of residents with no formal qualifications and school-leaver results are also poorer than the national average.

George Ryan, executive member for development and regeneration at Glasgow City Council, said: “It is clear from the labour statement that Glasgow has a strong and sustainable economy which has provided a stream of new jobs in diverse sectors, although worklessness and deprivation among a high number of residents are continuing challenges.

“The council is working in partnership with many organisations across the city to improve access to education and training and to help into employment.”

The statistics also predict that the number of households will increase by 3140 per year to 312,696 in 2016 and the number of children in Glasgow will rise to 102,125.

The future projections point to a number of service areas which the council must look at more closely, including how changes in population will affect the need for education provision and affordable housing to accommodate the predicted increase in young children and households.

Mr Ryan said: “This report shows the reversal of the city’s declining population which has been an issue in recent years and points towards a significant recovery by 2016 and beyond.”

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